Introduction: Custom Fishing Rod Thread Art

About: All around DIY enthusiast. I love everything from woodworking, metal working, to fishing rod building!

In this Instructable, I am going to show you how to add custom touches to your favorite fishing rod by using thread art. This is accomplished by using thread and wrapping it around the rod using patterns, and alternate colors to produce decorative wrappings and designs. This can take your fishing rod from ordinary to amazing!


For this project, you will need rod building wrapping thread. If you do not use a colorfast thread, then a color preserver will also need to be used to prevent the sun from bleaching the color out of your design. A razorblade, and thread scissors are also needed to cut the thread during the process. Some type of wrapping jig to tension the thread is needed to properly tension the thread while wrapping. To finish the wrapping, you will also need a good two part epoxy to cover the thread and protect your design.

Step 1: Beginning the Wrap

To begin the wrap, you will pick the spot to start based on where you want the design to go. In this example, I am going to do a simple metallic wrap that has stripes in it for demonstrative purposes. I will put this wrap by the hook keeper. To start, I wrap the thread around the fishing rod one time as shown in the picture. When wrapping to the right like in my example, you want to start the tag end of the thread on the left and leave it pointing up like in the photo.

Step 2: Securing the Beginning

In order to secure the beginning of the wrap, you will carefully take the thread that is coming from your tension device and overlap it past the tag end. You then hold a finger at this junction to keep the threads from moving. When putting the thread in this position, it allows you to wrap over the tag end, securing the beginning of the wrap.

Step 3: Securing the Tag End

In this step, you will slowly rotate the blank away from you, and let the thread wrap around the blank. This will wrap over the tag end and secure it in place, so the beginning does not unravel. You will need to hold that junction for the first two or three turns to keep the thread from spinning. After a few wraps, the thread will be secure and you can remove your finger from the junction. I usually wrap over the tag 6 times to ensure a secured tag. The photo shows what the wrap should look like at this point.

Step 4: Cutting the Tag End

In this step, you will take a razor blade and cut that tag end off. It is only needed to anchor the wrap, and can be removed at this point.

Step 5: Beginning the Color Stripe

With this step, we begin to put our color thread in for our stripes. On this particular fishing rod, it is a red, white, and blue accented theme. To set the contrast color thread in, you will want to turn the rod to where the bottom side is facing you. You want to put the thread in the bottom, so that the junction is hidden on the bottom. To insert the thread, just slide it up perpendicular to the last thread wrapped as shown in this photo.

Step 6: Anchoring the Contrast Thread

With this step, you will wrap over this contrast thread 3 rounds. This will anchor the thread into place. Once wrapped over 3 times, take your thread scissors and trim the tag end of the contrast thread as close to the the wrap as possible. This will help with the next step. The photos show how to trim the thread, and what it looks like after trimming.

Step 7: Pull Back the Contrast Thread

In this step, you will pull back the contrast thread, until it is just under the wrapped thread. This step allows the anchored contrast thread to be hidden. Be careful when pulling it back, as it is very easy to pull too far, and have to start over. The photo shows how the wrap looks with the contrast thread hidden.

Step 8: Beginning the Stripe

To begin this step, wrap one more time around the contrast thread to ensure a good anchor after pulling it back. Next, wrap the contrast thread right beside the primary color. The photo shows what this looks like. It is easiest to have both threads between your fingers to hold the thread close together.

Step 9: Wrap the Stripe

With this step, begin wrapping around the blank both the primary color and the contrasting color at the same time. The best way to do this is to keep both threads between your fingers and wrap slowly. A hint is that for how ever many stripes you want, do two more wraps at the junction as you want. For example, if I want two stripes of blue, I will do one more full wrap, and then back around to the junction. After wrapping, put your finger at the junction to hold the threads in place until the next step.

Step 10: Anchoring the Stripe

To anchor the contrasting thread on the finished end, keep holding the thread wrap down with one finger. Then take your other hand and unwrap the contrast thread one time, while maintaining pressure on the primary thread to be sure the wrap does not unravel. This can be difficult, but practice makes perfect. The picture shows what it should look like after this step.

Step 11: Anchoring the Contrasting Thread

To do this step, wrap over the tag end you unwrapped three times. This will anchor it into place. You will then cut the tag end and put another 3 wraps on it. It will look like the photo when this step is finished.

Step 12: Tying Off the Wrap

To tie off the wrap, insert a piece of folded in half thread between the last wrap like the photo shows.

Step 13: Completing the Wrap

To complete the wrap, wrap over the folded over insert 8 times. Then cut the primary thread while putting pressure on the end of the wrap so it does not unravel. You will then thread the tag end through the loop from the folded over thread. Pull down on the tag end once it is through the loop, and then pull the folded over thread through the wrap. This will pull the tag end back through the 8 wraps that you made, anchoring the end. You will then take a razorblade, and cut that tag end, and the wrap is complete.

Step 14: Additional Stripes

I used the same steps as before to add an additional section of blue primary with silver stripes. This gives a really custom look.

Step 15: Additional Variations

These photos show some progress pictures of a intricate decorative wrap. In the first picture, you can see two wraps of thread spiraling up the blank. There are white threads taped perpendicular on the blank. These white threads have dots placed on them at measured intervals. These dots show me where to cross the threads. With these intricate wraps, you will follow a pattern that can be found in books, or you can make your own. With each wrap, you will either wrap above or below the initial layout threads. Depending on which and what color you wrap with, determines the final product.These photos show the progression of color and direction changed during. The final picture shows the final product after the epoxy has been applied. The possibilities are endless, so go try your own and customize your fishing rod!

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